The Real Deal Miami

Wellington property owner sues over code violation

Properties 5 acres and fewer with barns or stables must also have home
January 20, 2015 10:30AM

Ritter's land is near the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, which is located at

Ritter’s property is across the street from the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, which is located at 14440 Pierson Road.

An equestrian business owner in Palm Beach County is suing the village of Wellington over a property rights dispute that could affect neighboring property owners.

Wellington’s code requires that there be a home on properties of fewer than 5 acres that have barns or stables, but last summer property owner Jim Ritter tore down the single-family home on his 4-acre property, and the village cited him for a code violation.

Ritter manages a company that owns and operates a commercial boarding and training facility on the site located across the street from the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, the Palm Beach Post reported. Ritter is arguing that Wellington can’t require him to have a home on that land because he has an agricultural classification for his property from the county appraiser.

“This is a right that he has and everybody else who qualifies for it has and they need to know about it — and the village essentially needs to cooperate with the laws they’re required to follow,” Ritter’s attorney Michael Stevens told the Palm Beach Post.

Village Attorney Laurie Cohen disagrees.

“They bought the property, knowing what the land-use requirements were,” Cohen said in the article. “We’re going to defend the lawsuit.” [Palm Beach Post] — Kristina Puga